Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (2024)

Rich, chocolatey, and full of spicy pepper flavor, this Homemade Mole Sauce is secretly so simple to make!Unlike other authentic mole recipes, this one is made with easy-to-find ingredients such as nut butter, cocoa powder, chili powder, and other common Mexican spices.Use it up on your favorite chicken enchiladas, tacos, and roasted chicken, or make a double batch and store it for later!

Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (1)

Easy Mole Sauce Recipe

There is a perfect balance that must be struck between chocolatey cocoa flavors and earthy pepper spices in a classic Mole Sauce.

Too much chocolate and it becomes overly sweet.A heavy hand on the peppers and you lose the cacao flavor.

When I approached this tricky Mexican classic at home, I first turned to the more authentic recipes.

(Did you know this flavorful sauce is considered the national dish of Mexico?)

The first few ingredients looked familiar… and then as I continued reading, the list never seemed to end!!Many of the authentic mole sauces call for 20+ ingredients and at least 3 hours of cook time!

That simply would not do.So I began picking these classic recipes apart.

Dried ancho, chipotle, and guajillo peppers?Hmmm… why not replace that with some chili powder and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce?!

Three different kinds of nuts and seeds…Let’s just use a little nut butter!

Mexican dark chocolate… regular cocoa powder will do.

And three HOURS of simmering…no way Jose!How about we reduce that liquid and cut down the cook time significantly, say… less than 20 minutes?!

After a few rounds of recipe testing, this mole sauce recipe was born.And it is indeed the BEST because it is also the EASIEST and the CLOSEST to the traditional Mexican sauce as you can get without being so labor intensive.

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What Is Mole Sauce?

Mole is a classic Mexican recipe that is either used as a sauce or a marinade.It is typically served as a sauce over chicken, with enchiladas, or in tacos.

The more popular, Mole Poblano Sauce, is dark brown-red in color and has deep, earthy tones, spicy peppers, and cacao flavors.This complex flavor profile is made possible by the combination of numerous dried peppers, nuts, seeds, fruit, and rich spices such as cumin and cinnamon.

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Mole Sauce Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this easy mole recipe include:

  • Onion. A sweet or white onion is recommended.Do not use yellow as these have a very strong flavor.
  • Chili Powder. Instead of using multiple dried peppers, a good bit of chili powder will be used.If you have the option, try to mix up the types of chili powders for a more complex flavor.Some grocery stores will have guajillo chili powder, ancho chili powder, and even pasilla chili powder.
  • Cocoa Powder. A regular cocoa powder was used but cacao powder may also be substituted.Do not use a dark cocoa powder.It will result in a very different flavor.
  • Chipotle Peppers. A shortcut we’re taking is to use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These have an incredible smoky flavor that is very unique to this sauce.If you don’t like your mole sauce too spicy, only use 1 pepper.If you prefer a very spicy mole sauce, use 2-3 peppers.
  • Nut Butter. Either almond butter or peanut butter can be used.Look for one that has no sugar added.If you’re allergic to nuts, you can also try a sunflower butter or even tahini paste.
  • Raisins. A little bit of fruit gives the sauce a subtle sweetness. Purple or golden raisins may both be used.
  • Ground spices. A combination of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and cloves combine to give the sauce an incredible earthy tone.Be careful when adding in the cloves because a little bit really does go a long way!If you have someone that doesn’t care for cloves, try substituting it with nutmeg instead.
  • Starch. Cornstarch helps to thicken up the sauce.You can also use arrowroot starch or tapioca starch instead.
  • Broth. Regular sodium chicken broth was used when testing this recipe. However, vegetable broth can be subbed if you’re vegan or vegetarian.

How to Make Mole Sauce

These are the steps to follow to make an easy mole sauce recipe:

Sauté the Onion

Place a medium-sized or large saucepan or skillet over medium or medium-high heat. A deeper saucepan is best.

Sauté the olive oil and diced onion in the pan for 3-4 minutes.Add the crushed garlic and continue cooking for another minute.

In a small bowl whisk together the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, salt, and black pepper.

Reduce your heat to low, sprinkle the mixed seasoning ingredients, then add the cornstarch to the saucepan.Stir for 1 minute.Pay very close attention here.If you stop stirring the bottom may burn!

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Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (5)

Add the Broth

Pour in ½ cup of broth and scrape the bottom. This step is important to ensure no pieces burn to the bottom of the pan.

It also gets all of the flavorful ingredients blended together in the next step.

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Process the Sauce

Add the onion and seasoning mixture to a large food processor or a high-speed blender along with the chipotle peppers, almond butter, raisins, cocoa powder, and remaining broth.

Process for 1-2 minutes. You want the sauce completely smooth.The definitely don’t want to get a big bite of a chipotle pepper in your sauce!

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Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (8)

Simmer and Reduce

Pour the puréed mixture back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil.Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Be sure it’s UNCOVERED.This allows the evaporating moisture to escape. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a very runny mole sauce.

The result should be ~2¼ cups of mole sauce.If you get more than this, you’ll want to add it back to the saucepan and continue simmering until it has reduced to this amount.

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Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (10)

Blending Options

There are a few different ways you can blend up the mole sauce before simmering:

  • Smaller High-Speed Blender. The Nutribullet performed the best for me and resulted in the smoothest sauce in the least amount of time. You do have to make sure you have a relatively large cup in order to fit all of the ingredients without going over the max fill line.
  • Larger High-Speed Blender. A Vitamix is another great option. It’s has a large capacity so you don’t have to worry about overfilling it, and it does a good job of blending everything evenly.
  • Large Food Processor. This one also works well but does require you to stop and scrape down the sides a few times while processing.
  • Immersion Blender. Another great option, but it can get a little messy.Pay careful attention if using this so you do not lift the blender out of the pot too far and end up splattering sauce all over your shirt.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Mole sauce can be prepared up to 2-3 days in advance of using.The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the longer the ingredients have to meld together, so it actually gets better with time!
  • To Store:Leftover mole sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • To Freeze:Mole sauce freezes exceptionally well.Place it in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.You can also freeze it in smaller batches and pull it out when you need a flavorful marinade or small amount of sauce to drizzle.
  • To Reheat: It’s best if you reheat mole sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes.You can also microwave it if you’re pressed for time.
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Dietary Modifications

This recipe is already gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, soy-free, and low-carb.Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Vegan: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Paleo: Make sure to use a sugar-free almond butter and cocoa powder.
  • Whole30: Use dates with no added sugar instead of raisins.
  • Nut-free: Substitute sunflower butter or tahini paste for the almond butter.
  • Keto: Leave out the dried raisins and substitute with a few drops of stevia liquid extract.

What is in mole?

A typical mole sauce is made from dried chilis or chili powders, nuts and/or seeds, fruit, cocoa or chocolate, and either broth or water.

Does mole have chocolate?

Yes, mole sauce usually contains chocolate, most often cocoa powder. However, this doesn’t mean the sauce is sweet; instead, it’s rich and savory. Not all mole sauces have to have chocolate in them.The darker red-brown mole sauce is the most common type found in the US and is made with either Mexican chocolate or cocoa powder.

Is mole sauce spicy?

There are hundreds of kinds of mole sauce that range in spice level from mild to hot. When you make it at home, you can choose your spice level.

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What does mole sauce taste like?

There is quite a spectrum of flavors that mole sauce can have, but most describe it as earthy with a hint of chocolate. It is usually rich and savory with unique flavors that go well with chicken breast and pork, especially in corn tortillas.

How to thicken mole sauce?

The best way to thicken mole sauce is simmering it over low heat. This some of the excess liquid to evaporate without changing the flavor.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Mix your chilis. The various types of chili makes the flavor profile of the sauce more complex.
  • Don’t cover it up.Leaving the saucepan exposed to the air allows any extra liquid to evaporate off and leads to a thicker sauce.
  • Go high-speed.A Nutribullet or Vitamix will be your best friend when it comes to puréeing this sauce.
  • Be smooth.You don’t want any lumps or clumps in the sauce, so make sure you take the time to blend until smooth.
  • Double up.Mole sauce freeze exceptionally well, so double the batch and store some for later!
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How to Use Mole Sauce

Once you’ve got your homemade mole sauce ready to eat, you can use it up with these other dishes.

Of course, Chicken Mole Enchiladas are the best go-to.

However, Instant Pot Shredded Chicken and Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos are the perfect base.

For Chicken Tostadas, just sub the tinga sauce for mole sauce!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 7 votes

Easy Mole Sauce

Rich, chocolatey, and full of spicy pepper flavor, this Homemade Mole Sauce is secretly so simple to make!Unlike other authentic mole recipes, this one is made with easy-to-find ingredients such as nut butter, cocoa powder, chili powder, and other common Mexican spices.

Easy Mole Sauce Recipe - Evolving Table (14)

DFGFLCPAVVG30

Yield 10

Prep 5 minutes mins

Cook 20 minutes mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder mild or mixed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. almond butter or peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raisins or dates
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder regular

Instructions

  • Place a medium-sized saucepan or skillet over medium heat.

  • Add oil and diced onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

  • Add crushed garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.

  • In a small bowl whisk together the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, salt, and black pepper.

  • Reduce heat to low and stir in the mixed seasoning ingredients along with the cornstarch. Stir for 1 minute.

  • Pour in ½ cup of broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to release any bits or pieces.

  • Add the onion and seasoning mixture to a large food processor or a high-speed blender along with the chipotle peppers, almond butter, raisins, cocoa powder, and remaining broth.

  • Process for 1-2 minutes or until it is completely smooth.

  • Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  • You should end up with ~2 ¼ cups of mole sauce. Use immediately to make these Chicken Mole Enchiladas or store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.

Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 7 votes

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Mole sauce can be prepared up to 2-3 days in advance of using. The longer it sits in the refrigerator the longer the ingredients have to meld together, so it actually gets better with time!
  • To Store: Homemade mole sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • To Freeze: Mole sauce freezes exceptionally well. Place it in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 4-6 months. You can also freeze it in smaller batches and pull it out when you need a flavorful marinade or small amount of sauce to drizzle.
  • To Reheat: It’s best if you reheat mole sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. You can also microwave it if you’re pressed for time.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Use a mix of chili powders. The various types of chili makes the flavor profile of the sauce more complex.
  • Simmer the sauce uncovered. Leaving the saucepan exposed to the air allows any extra liquid to evaporate off and leads to a thicker sauce.
  • A high-speed blender works the best. A Nutribullet or Vitamix will be your best friend when it comes to pureeing this sauce.
  • Process until super smooth. You don’t want any lumps of clumps in the sauce, so make sure you blend until smooth.
  • Double the batch. Mole sauce freeze exceptionally well, so double the batch and store some for later!

Nutrition

Calories: 89kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 484mg, Potassium: 280mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 926IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!

Categorized as:
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Nut-Free, Paleo, Recipes, , Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole30

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